Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Calls Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Protest ‘Really Dumb’

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The Notorious RBG isn’t one to mince words.

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In an interview with Yahoo! on Monday, Ginsburg called Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality “dumb and disrespectful.”

“I think it’s really dumb of them,” she said. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it.”

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Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began his protest on August 26 when he remained seated for the “Star-Spangled Banner” before a game against the Green Bay Packers.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick, 28, told Steve Wyche of NFL Media after the game.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he continued. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In September, Kaepernick opted to substitute kneeling for remaining seated after a meeting with Army Green Beret Nate Boyer in the hopes of making his protest more respectful.

An increasing number of players (both professional and in high school) have joined Kaepernick’s protest by kneeling or raising their right fists during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Despite criticisms and boos from crowds, Kaepernick has continuously defended his decision by explaining that it’s not intended as a protest of America itself or the military. He has said he is simply using his platform to raise awareness of ongoing oppression and injustice.

“I am not looking for approval,” he said. “I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me – I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Kaepernick has further demonstrated his desire to address these issues head-on by committing to donate $1 million to communities in need during the first 10 weeks of football season.

Last month, President Obama defended Kaepernick’s right to protest, but added that the gesture was a “tough thing” to see.

“I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about,” President Obama said. “If nothing else, what he’s done is he has generated some more conversation around some issues that need to be talked about.”

Ginsburg agrees that it is – and should be – within Kaepernick and the other players’ rights to protest in this way, but is decidedly less positive about their form of expression.

“If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive,” she said. “If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

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